J. Stitt Wilson

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Jackson Stitt Wilson (1868-1942) was a speaker at the Silver Bay student conference of 1925 and most probably made his audience sit up and pay attention. He was an ardent Christian Socialist and served as the Socialist mayor of Berkeley, California, from 1911 to 1913.

After graduating from seminary at Northwestern, Wilson worked as a Methodist pastor and social worker in Chicago, and afterward said, “The injustices, misery, and wretchedness, and the unequal struggle of the workers against such frightful odds compelled me to study the underlying causes of this social agony, and I became a Socialist.”

From 1907, Wilson was a contributing editor to The Christian Socialist, a weekly newspaper which unified the Christian socialist wing of the Socialist Party of America.

In 1911, Wilson wrote, “If God is ever to wipe away the tears from the face of man, this age-long wrong [capitalism] must be overthrown. If the mission of Jesus is ever to get the upper hand in human affairs, the social revolution must come to pass… There is no deliverance for captives unless this social captivity is ended. There is no setting at liberty the people that are bruised unless this age-long bruising machinery is stopped. If we are ever to call the poor and the maimed and the halt to the banquet of creation, the program of the revolution must be inaugurated.”

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On a completely irrelevant note, Wilson’s daughter Gladys, billed as Viola Barry, appeared in 29 silent films between 1911 and 1916.

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